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thought that I was so kindly remembered as Lady Hungerford described ; but the very non-concealment of that kindness, with no intimation of any thing more, proved that I was nothing to Bertha. Had there been any thing warmer, she would not have so frankly confessed her friendship; she would have been afraid of herself. This I felt, from I know not what sort of intuition: so far had I advanced without instruction in the knowledge of the heart.
I am ashamed to say how wayward I felt towards Lady Hungerford after this last visit. Though I could not by any means make it out, I wished to think myself unkindly used, and abstained from repeating my calls for a week; nay, I excused myself from one of her soirées ; and when I met her unexpectedly at a third place, and rather looked to be reproached for it, to my mortification I was treated exactly with the same affability and ease as if I had shewn my usual assiduities.
I was half angry at this no change, and, like Sir Peter in the play, said to myself, “ She may break my heart, but she sha'nt keep her temper.”
Meantime, I thought the experiment I had made in regard to her feeling for Granville had succeeded; and that the strong hint I had given her of his devotion had far from displeased her. It is certain she did any thing but keep her resolution of not speaking to him again; the last line"
seemed always the last thing remembered, and was remembered with pleasure.
The effect was visible upon himself. All his agreeable qualities —his talent-his tact, and good breeding shone out in double lustre, and he wanted nothing but his embassy to enable him to undertake a siege in form.
I confess I envied him; and in the midst of business, pleasure, and dissipation, I became, as formerly, solitary and sad'; though not, as formerly, fond of my chain, for I really wished to break it. My friends thought me like Richard, when about to fight for his kingdom, and noticed that
“ I had not that alacrity of spirit,
And cheer of mind, that I was wont to have.” And yet there was nothing in Lady Hungerford's caution or communication, that ought to have added to whatever uneasiness I had before undergone. It was not new to me, that I was to have no hope for Bertha. I had, indeed, thought I had settled that matter for ever, and had even been light of heart when I first came to London.
Nor did the associations thrown around Lady Hungerford at all sadden my recollections, or prevent my delight in her conversation. It was the intimation she gave that I was still so kindly remembered where it did me good to think myself forgotten, that disturbed me, For by reviving tenderness (never indeed entirely suppressed), it ex
cited a tumult once more in my feelings, by no means soothed by the accompanying assurance that those feelings were vain.
I tried again to summon my pride to aid me against both Bertha and her friend who had so lectured me.
I did not understand, much less like, the positive tone assumed, as it were expressly, by Lady Hungerford on this occasion. In particular, I could not make out, and was disposed to resent, the seemingly gratuitous assumption, that were I Lord De Clifford himself, or even a prince of the blood, I should not succeed. What right had Lady Hungerford to assert this? Why assert it, except unnecessarily to humble me?
I became downright angry. But I could not keep my anger long, for my admiration of this charming person predominated over even a sense of injury; and as for Bertha, all pride fell before her, and I felt that to her I was “pigeon-livered and lacked gall."
Luckily, at this time, a press of business in the state, and a press of engagements in the world of fashion, came so far to my aid, that I had little time to brood. Lord Castleton gave me employment enough in the former, and the latter was greatly encouraged, on a good natural principle, as she told me herself, by Lady Hungerford. I became what is called bien repandu. I wrote all the morning, or saw courtiers and applicants, and
made precis for the king, which he was pleased to approve, as he told Lord Castleton himself, of which, being one of the best judges in his own dominions, I was not a little proud.
In the afternoon I rode in the park, amid a gay and increasing throng of acquaintance of both sexes; many of them rising young men, some actually risen ; and the women of the most finished tournure.
In these parties Lady Hungerford and Granville, who constantly attended her, were conspieuous, and by the consequence which their protection gave me, made me appear in the world any thing but a decayed gentleman.
As to themselves, the thing seemed decided in public opinion, and they were given without reserve to each other. I was much catechised
upon it; and though I could not answer, because I knew nothing, it was taken as a proof of discretion, auguring a prudence which would in the end assuredly lead to something great.
The opportunities of knowing the world were thus multiplied, and what amused me was, to observe the deference shewn me by many whom I thought great men at Oxford, because of their horses and large expenditure compared with my own (though perhaps the whole of their fortune), but who in those days stood studiously aloof from such little men as I.
These men formed a class which an observer of the world would do well to note. They were the Mr. Wiggenses and Mr. Sprigginses of life; sons of little merchants, or practitioners in the professions, who had bred or intended to breed them to their own vocations; but leaving them small fortunes, from three to five thousand pounds apiece, which sufficing to their immediate views, they would not submit to either the restraint or what they thought the disgrace of business, but resolved to burst forth men of fashion at once.
This, as they imagined, consisted in being able to keep a good horse, with perhaps (for it was not universal), a groom; to ride regularly in the ring, know every coach with a coronet, be a Bond Street lounger (then a great town character), and lodge in its neighbourhood. The richer ones frequented the coffee-houses there, and sometimes even dined at them. These were at all proper times to be seen at Tattersall's, and never missed Epsom.
But the happiness and dignity of these gentry were consummate, if they could regularly attend the Opera of a Saturday night, where one of them was a most amusing study-indeed perfectly unique; for, having a few acquaintances of his own of the higher sort, and, by dint of an apprenticeship to it of some years, having acquired a knowledge of the names and persons of most of the people of rank, he was to be seen and heard